KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Retiree Health Care Costs Have Mass., Calif. Officials Seeking Change

Budget issues continue to force officials to seek ways to cut their health care bills, especially for retirees. Massachusetts and California are the latest to seek solutions to these inflating costs.

Reuters: Massachusetts Governor Seeks To Revamp Retiree Health Care
Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick said on Friday that he will file legislation to overhaul benefits for public retirees, including a proposal to double the number of years an employee would have to serve to be eligible. The bill would require most current employees of the state and its cities, towns and school districts to work for 20 years instead of 10 years to become eligible for health benefits when they retire (Russ, 1/11).

Los Angeles Times: California's Debt Still A Heavy Cloud Over State's Future
Gov. Jerry Brown proclaimed last week that California, which now has enough cash to pay its day-to-day bills, can no longer be described by naysayers as a "failed state." But even though it appears to be free of the deficit that dogged the Capitol in recent years, the state is no model of financial health. … Sacramento is legally obligated to pay many billions of dollars withheld from schools, local governments and health care providers as lawmakers struggled repeatedly to balance the books. … And it has accumulated a crushing load of debt for retiree pensions and health care, now totaling more than taxpayers spend each year on all state programs combined (Halper and Megerian, 1/13).

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